Business

Thumbnail image for Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

Thanks for Nothing (and Everything): On Walmart, Black Friday, and Thich Nhat Hanh

by Jim Miller 11.24.2014 Business

By Jim Miller

It’s Thanksgiving week and Walmart is getting ready to ruin the party by asking nearly one million of its workers to come in on the holiday to get a jump-start on the Black Friday consumer frenzy. Given its size and influence, Walmart’s move, if successful, is likely to set a trend in the industry and wreck Thanksgiving for millions more underpaid service sector workers in the future.

Fortunately, OUR Walmart is responding in kind by promising the biggest Black Friday Strike ever with allies in labor and the community promising to join hands with them in their protest. As Think Progress recently reported:

Workers have gone on strike and protested for the past two Black Fridays. This time, they will also be joined by “tens of thousands” of community members, according to Stephanie Ly, AFT New Mexico president and a teacher, the “largest mobilizing of working families we’ve seen in recent history.” Teachers, elected officials, members of the clergy, and others will participate in protests at stores, flash mobs, marches, and prayer vigils.

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Thumbnail image for Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

Working Tech for Good Causes and Loving It Every Day

by At Large 11.18.2014 Activism

By Oliver James

I threw away a $100k+ a year career for my community. I live in City Heights, San Diego, California and I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. And this is why I did it.

Let’s rewind a bit back to 2010. I was working for a marketing company providing design and marketing services to the financial industry. I was making around $65k a year and life was good (or so it seemed).

Don’t get me wrong $65,000 a year was great. But I wasn’t really, truly happy.

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Thumbnail image for Wall Street Criminals Walk Free After Inflicting Enormous Damage on American Citizens

Wall Street Criminals Walk Free After Inflicting Enormous Damage on American Citizens

by John Lawrence 11.18.2014 Business

Wall Street Fraud on a Massive Basis

By John Lawrence

In an article in Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi lays out the case involving massive fraud on the part of JP Morgan Chase, one of Wall Street’s biggest and un-finest banks, considered too big to fail and, evidently, too big to prosecute for the massive criminality it is guilty of. It has been well documented what they and other Wall Street banks did that caused the financial crisis of 2008.

First, their counterparts lured everyone with a beating heart into their offices and gave them a mortgage regardless of their credit score, regardless of whether or not they were working, regardless of whether they could even afford to make a mortgage payment. Countrywide is the prime example of the predatory recruitment of low income people in order to turn them into homeowners despite their inability to pay.

As soon as they had signed on the dotted line and Countrywide had collected their commissions, they offloaded the mortgages to JP Morgan Chase and others so that they could be collectivized with other mortgages, securitized and given triple A ratings by credit rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s, then sliced and diced into tranches and sold off as Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) to pension funds, retirement funds, insurance companies and other unsuspecting dupes.

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Thumbnail image for The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

The United Taxi Workers Victory and the Struggle for a New Labor Movement

by Jim Miller 11.17.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Last Monday’s victory for the United Taxi Workers of San Diego provided a much-needed boost for local labor.

After a year that has included some tough losses at the polls and the effort to save the minimum wage ordinance, it was inspiring to see the taxi drivers (largely East African immigrant workers) burst into celebration and pour out of Golden Hall chanting “USA!” as they embraced each other, mounted the planter boxes, and cheered for joy.

It was the kind of genuine expression of collective exuberance that comes when workers feel, perhaps for the first time, that they have taken ownership of their lives and destinies.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

by Doug Porter 11.14.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Coast to coast labor actions on Thursday, November 13th, provided a preview of what’s to come in the not-so-distant future as workers who’ve been marginalized and abused in the so-called post recession economy begin voicing their frustrations. The tactic of short, sudden strikes starting with restaurant workers in New York City several years ago is going nationwide.

America’s biggest retailer saw an daytime sit-in by about 20 employees at its Crenshaw store. Off duty Walmart employees sat along aisles at that location holding signs resembling those used in the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937.

Store Managers came by and checked IDs and discount cards to verify that those involved really were WalMart employees. Protesters were out of their uniform and off the clock, their mouths covered with green tape and the word strike written across it symbolizing their claims about the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

SDFP Street Beat: North Park Jack in the Box, South Park Target, Uptown Regional Bike Corridor Update

by Anna Daniels 11.14.2014 Activism

By Anna Daniels

Renovation, Rebuild or Turducken?

The North Park Preservation lawsuit against Jack in the Box/City of San Diego is moving forward, with a Summary Judgment hearing before Judge Prager on Friday, November 21.

The group filed the suit when Jack in the Box underwent renovations and a rebuild that the community maintains are violations of city zoning and the community plan. Also at issue is that the city did not correctly permit the project.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

by Doug Porter 11.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Anthony Bernal, currently employed as Director of Business and Community Projects for Council President Todd Gloria, has thrown his hat in the ring to replace his termed-out boss in the Third District.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

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Thumbnail image for A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

by Doug Porter 11.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Years of grass roots organizing paid off yesterday as the City Council voted 8-1 to eliminate a cap on the number of taxi permits issued in San Diego.

The United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) grew out of an unsuccessful driver strike in December, 2009. Roughly 300 drivers took part, asking for a reduced weekly lease rate, a guaranteed day off per week, sick days, better job security and better-maintained vehicles.

The taxi industry in San Diego has been functioning as a government licensed fiefdom, with a several hundred permit holders leasing their vehicles to immigrants (mostly) from East Africa who introduce others to the job after arriving in the region.

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Thumbnail image for A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

by Doug Porter 11.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The effort to sabotage a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego was funded almost entirely by corporations dependent on government anti-poverty programs to support their workers.

This information came out via a November 4 campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the San Diego city clerk’s office reported on by Matt Potter at  the Reader. The campaign was sponsored by a group calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition.,  While the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, made no secret of its involvement, they consistently claimed they were acting on behalf of and funded by small businesses.

Now we know that more than 95% of the group’s funding came from big business Political Action Committees. Out of town monies included: $100,000 from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, $40,000 from The California Restaurant Association Issues PAC, and $25,000 from the International Franchise Association of Washington DC.

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Thumbnail image for Lincoln Club Plays the Sexism Card in District 6 City Council Race

Lincoln Club Plays the Sexism Card in District 6 City Council Race

by Doug Porter 10.30.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s Lincoln Club does a great job of proving just how racism and sexism are tools used by the wealthy to attack candidates and divide voters in elections.

The right leaning group used photographs doctored to imply mayoral candidate David Alavarez was a Mexican gang member earlier this year.

Now they’re going after District 6 City Council candidate Carol Kim, crudely photo-shopping her face into the image of woman with multiple shopping bags on her arms in New York City. Voters are encouraged to be afraid of her (non-existent) “New York City” tax plan.

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Thumbnail image for 100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

100-Plus Labor Activists Assemble For Troublemakers Conference

by Source 10.30.2014 Activism

By Daniel Gutiérrez and Victor Herzfeld

On Saturday, October 25, union members, community leaders, and student organizers gathered at Lincoln High School to attend the San Diego Troublemakers Conference, hosted by Labor Notes and the Coalition for Labor & Community Solidarity (CLCS).

The event attracted a wide array of attendees from multiple unions, neighborhoods, and campuses to address burning questions that face labor today. Speakers included various organizers, like folks from SEIU, United Taxi Workers of San Diego, Unión del Barrio, ARE, AFT, UAW, IWW, the Seattle Education Association, and a slue of others that deserve mention. However, what made the event more remarkable than the list of invited speakers was the shear fact that it was so well attended. More than 120 people gathered on an early Saturday morning to address the future of the labor movement in San Diego, nationally, and internationally.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

by Doug Porter 10.28.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

We’re “back to the issues” in the race for the 52nd Congressional District in California.  Taking a page from the playbook once used by Gov. Pete Wilson, GOP candidate Carl DeMaio announced his five weird tricks for better border security yesterday.

“From illegal immigration to terrorism and Ebola, the reasons for securing our nation’s border have never been more clear,” he told a small group of reporters at a campaign headquarters press conference.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) whipped up the party base on the immigration issue via conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening. DeMaio beat him to the punch by a few hours,  accusing incumbent Scott Peters of being a “rubber stamp” for the failed policies policy of the Obama administration.

There was nothing new in the GOP challenger’s plan, but at least it didn’t show up as plagiarized on any internet searches.

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Thumbnail image for The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

The Alaska Permanent Fund: Socialism in a Republican State

by John Lawrence 10.28.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

Alaska is a land of rugged individualists – Republicans all the way. However, a little known fact is that Alaska taxes the oil and gas corporations operating there and distributes the proceeds on an annual basis equally among every man, woman and child living in the state.

The biggest farce of all is that Tea Party touter, Governor Sarah Palin, slapped an excess profits tax on the state’s oil companies in 2008, the year she ran for vice-President alongside John McCain, so that every person in Alaska received a dividend of $3269 that year. That was a pretty good haul for a family of four: $13,076. For Palin’s family – husband Todd, sons Track and Trig and daughters Bristol, Willow and Piper – it came to an even better haul – $22,883!

Let me be clear. I am totally in favor of institutions like the Alaska Permanent Fund and think they should be extended to the entire US which would guarantee every American citizen a basic income which would come from things we all own in common like oil and mineral deposits, the electromagnetic spectrum and the air we breathe. But someone like Palin, who presided over a plan that taxed corporations and distributed the proceeds to each citizen of Alaska while at the same time taking humungus speaking fees to egg on the Tea Party with anti-tax, anti-socialist and free market rhetoric, is nothing but a super hypocrite, someone beyond the pale – in.

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Thumbnail image for Why Is Feminism More Offensive Than Rape, Inequality and the F-Word?

Why Is Feminism More Offensive Than Rape, Inequality and the F-Word?

by Annie Lane 10.28.2014 Activism

By Annie Lane

Feminism comes in many shapes and sizes, though if you ask author Karin Agness of the Time Magazine article Seriously? This Is What Passes for Feminism in America it appears that it should only ever manifest itself in the form of an 11-year-old girl who was shot in the head, as was the case for Malala Yousafzai.

Thankfully, Yousafzai survived the senseless and depraved attack on her life by the Taliban in 2012, and has gone on to be the voice for women’s education and rights in Pakistan. And the world is better because of her.

But according to Agness, American girls, such as the ones who appeared in the controversial FCKH8 video that went viral last week, don’t even graze the surface of what it means to be a Feminist, and instead are merely some part of a cheap marketing ploy to sell t-shirts.

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Thumbnail image for The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

The Big Problem With Time’s Teacher-Bashing Cover Story

by Source 10.27.2014 Business

By Peter Hart / Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)

With a cover that announces “Rotten Apples: It’s Nearly Impossible to Fire a Bad Teacher” alongside an image of a judge’s gavel about to smash a fruit, you might suspect Time magazine (10/23/14) is doing some good old-fashioned teacher-bashing.

You’d be right.

There are a few problems with the story, but the biggest one is pretty familiar: It buries the lead. The Time piece, by Haley Sweetland Edwards, waits until the very end to tell readers that the teacher evaluation scheme central to argument is advancing is highly dubious.

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Malin Burnham and the U-T San Diego Idea Factory

by Frank Gormlie 10.24.2014 Business

union-tribunefrontbldgPart Two of two parts

By Frank Gormlie

As we delve more now in Part Two into Malin Burnham, “the last Corte Maderan” as Mike Davis calls him, and his possible take-over of San Diego’s only daily newspaper, longtime City Heights community activist, Anna Daniels, one of the editors at San Diego Free Press, cautioned:

When the news broke that Malin Burnham was interested in purchasing the U-T San Diego with the intent of turning it into a non-profit, the main and often only description of him was as a San Diego “philanthropist”. And it is true–Burnham is known for his extensive philanthropy.

He is also known for his role as a local real estate developer, as chairman of First National Bank at San Diego and as a former Director of San Diego Gas and Electric. It might prove useful in the future to keep these other interests in mind.

Malin Burnham fullWhich pretty much sums up Part One for me. As City Hall veteran, Norma Damashek, reminded us:

As you know, Burnham has been a VIP mover and shaker in San Diego for decades. He’s not stingy with his money. Some is philanthropy, some is strictly political.

It’s also useful to know that Burnham represents a wing of the local Establishment that has challenged the other, more conservative wing on numerous occasions – with the back and forth between the different factions going for decades.

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Thumbnail image for Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

by Doug Porter 10.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Denial is a long river. And yesterday it wound its way through Mission Valley after NBC7 News released a story about emails from the DeMaio campaign boasting about having composed an editorial that appeared in UT-San Diego back in December, 2013

The emails came from former staffer Todd Bosnich, who has been at the center of other recent controversies regarding the GOP candidate for the 52nd Congressional District. Bosnich says candidate DeMaio sexually harassed him. DeMaio says Bosnich is responsible for a break-in and vandalism at his headquarters.

The district attorney says there’s not enough evidence in either case to move forward with prosecution. Bosnich’s attorneys say a lawsuit is in the works. DeMaio’s campaign is vacillating between refusing to comment and denying the validity of the emails. Bosnich has granted access to his laptop computer to cyber experts who have informed reporters that the emails appear to be genuine.

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What Does Malin Burnham’s Possible Take-Over of the U-T San Diego Mean?

by Frank Gormlie 10.23.2014 Business

Malin Burnham fullhueAs ‘Old-Money’ Point Loman Burnham emerges to operate San Diego’s daily, questions are raised whether this is the “Moderate Wing” of the Establishment reasserting itself?

Part One of two parts.

By Frank Gormlie / OB Rag

The news has been out for nearly a month now that well known wheeler-dealer and financier Malin Burnham of Point Loma has initiated efforts to purchase the U-T San Diego from Doug Manchester, the current owner and publisher.

Burnham, who calls himself a moderate Republican and who has lived in Point Loma all his life, told the press that he is the spokesman for a 5-man group of economic power-brokers who want to form a non-profit that will take over the newspaper and run it as a profit-making enterprise. Any profits, Burnham has pledged, would go back into community charities. Now as crazy as that plan might seem in this day and age of folding newspapers and expanding internet news sites, there are at least two other major dailies in the country that are run by non-profits. …

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Thumbnail image for Paying for Cheap Chocolate: Upgrading Halloween Treats Might Take a Bite Out of Child Labor.

Paying for Cheap Chocolate: Upgrading Halloween Treats Might Take a Bite Out of Child Labor.

by Source 10.23.2014 Culture

By  / Other Words

One Halloween, my husband persuaded our kids to give away most of the candy they’d just collected while trick-or-treating. They were preschoolers and the house we were renting then had previously drawn teens with haunted tours.

We’d run out of candy when a stream of teens showed up at our underwhelmingly spooky doorstep, shaking badly decorated pillow cases and looking disappointed.

Recycling the kids’ Halloween booty worked in that pinch. But candy consumption is sure to spike at my house this year, courtesy of the generosity the neighbors will show our pint-sized ghoul and devil. It probably will at yours too.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 10.21.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Monday should have been a good day for 52nd District congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. But it wasn’t.

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations from an ex-aide was being closed due to lack of evidence.

She also announced the investigation into a campaign office break-in that DeMaio campaign had sought to link to the ex-aide was also being closed for the same reason. The GOP candidate’s campaign was the only source for that claim, which had already served its purpose, to deflect attention away from DeMaio’s behavior.

UT-San Diego whipped out its congratulatory editorial, patting the DA on the head for getting this lurid matter settled before election day, pronouncing “throughout this flap, DeMaio has seemed far more credible than former aide Todd Bosnich.”  Voters were urged to get back to the “issues” in the campaign, namely that incumbent Scott Peters was under the influence of the evil Barack Obama.

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Wall Street’s Latest Scam: Subprime Auto Loans

by John Lawrence 10.21.2014 Business

By John Lawrence

unnamedWall Street needs to get people into debt. That’s one way they make their money – by collecting interest on people’s debts. They had a field day with subprime mortgages, and then those government bailouts were the sweet icing on the cake. Then they moved on to student loans.

Now they are making a killing off of subprime auto loans. Anyone can buy a used car, even those with no credit, the same way you used to be able to get a mortgage. They are also called liar loans which is the appropriate name for them because loan applications are falsified in the same way that mortgage loan applications were falsified.

It would seem that Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, knows no other way of keeping the economy humming or even getting it moving than to shove zero-interest money at the big banks in the hopes that they will loan it out making a profit off the spread.

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Help Stop Ebola by Telling Congress and the White House to Order Hospitals to Put Safety Standards First

by Source 10.21.2014 Government

Simply put, the status quo is indefensible if it puts nurses, other frontline healthcare workers, and patients’ lives in jeopardy.

nurses_ebolaBy Rose Ann DeMoro / Common Dreams

Now that nurses, who have been sounding the alarm about Ebola for more than two months, finally have the attention of policy makers and many others, let’s have no more excuses and take the steps needed to contain and eradicate this virulent disease in the U.S. and globally.

You can help by signing our online petition to Congress and President Obama here.

In the U.S., long experience with the privately-run corporate hospital chains that dominate care delivery have made the sober reality abundantly clear – unless the healthcare industry is mandated to put the safety of patients, nurses, and other caregivers above their profit motive, the Ebola threat will only get worse.

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Thumbnail image for Let Them Eat Tips

Let Them Eat Tips

by Source 10.18.2014 Business

Marriott’s push to get guests to subsidize its crummy pay for the people who clean hotel rooms is a disgrace.
By Jim Hightower / Other Words

Just when you thought the plutocratic profiteers running America’s exploitative, low-wage economy couldn’t get any more clueless, self-serving, pious, and mingy — along comes Lady Maria of Marriott, magnanimously saying: “Let them eat tips.”

Marriott International supports the political notion that America is divided between a few noble “makers” (like them) and a mass of “takers” (you, me, and the rest of us). Its approximately 4,000 hotels in 78 countries and territories have more than 690,000 rooms and operate under 18 different brand names that range from plebeian chains like Fairfield Inn & Suites to the luxury Ritz-Carlton properties.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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